Here are five fascinating facts about barley.
- Barley was used as currency to pay soldiers in ancient Rome, as well as pyramid workers in ancient Egypt.
- In medieval Europe, barley was used as a system of measurement. Three barleycorns equaled one inch.
- Barley is hardy, growing in both cold and dry environments such as Canada and Northern Europe.
- Most of the world’s beer is made from barley. It’s also used in whiskey.
- Barley is an excellent livestock feed, delivering a good source of energy and protein.
Barley also is an exceptional grain used in a variety of bakery foods, from breads and granola to pizza crusts and crackers. Barley is one of our favorite grains to work with in the R&D lab because it's versatile and delivers a rich, nutty flavor. Here are a variety of ways we work with barley.
We mill barley grains into barley flour to add flavor and texture to bakery foods. Barley flour differs from wheat flour in two ways: It has a nutty flavor and a slightly denser texture. That makes it appealing in countless applications, including:
- Breads: Bakers can create a denser, more complex loaf of bread by using barley flour with wheat flour or on its own.
- Muffins: A little bit of barley flour can impart flavor and a tender crumb in muffins and quick breads.
- Waffles: Barley flour helps develop a sturdier waffle with an exceptional flavor profile.
- Cookies: When used with wheat or rye flour, barley flour imparts a nutty flavor and chewy texture in cookies.
Our milling team is exceptional at making barley flakes. These exceptional ingredients start as whole barley grains and then are steamed, flattened and dried. They are very similar to rolled oats. We toast many of our barley flakes on our brand new toasting line for granolas. We also work with bakers to use barley flakes in the following applications:
- Cereals: Barley flakes are used in a variety of cereal products to provide flavor and texture:
- Bread: When added to a bread formula, bakers can create a heartier loaf with a complex flavor and texture.
- Food Bars: Barley flakes add texture and the perfect chew to food, snack and granola bars.
We mill barley cuts for a variety of applications ranging from breakfast cereals to soups to breads to muffins. Barley cuts are whole kernels of barley that have been hulled, cleaned and cut into smaller pieces. Our specialty milling operations can mill the cuts in various sizes depending on the application:
- Breads: Barley cuts add texture and flavor
- Cereal: Barley cuts alone can be eaten for breakfast after soaking in water or milk to create a porridge.
- Soups: Adds flavor and texture, as well as absorbs liquid in hearty stews.
- Salads: Similar to quinoa, barley cuts add a nutty flavor and chewy texture.
Barley truly is an incredible grain that bakers and food manufacturers can use to provide flavor, texture and functional properties. If you’re looking to incorporate more barley into your products, contact us and we’ll help you develop exceptional formulas.
And, here’s two more interesting facts about barley.
- Its worldwide production ranks it fourth behind corn, rice and wheat. In the United States, barley is mainly grown in Idaho and Montana, as well as in our backyard in North Dakota.
- Barley flour contains a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan has been shown to have several health benefits, including improving cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease.